Charity set for Grand Day Out at flower show

Horticap manager Phil Airey with students Michael Wood, Dan Moore, Carl Crooks, Simon Wilshire and Vicky Taylor show off the Wallace and Gromit-themed garden display. (16040113AM1)
Horticap manager Phil Airey with students Michael Wood, Dan Moore, Carl Crooks, Simon Wilshire and Vicky Taylor show off the Wallace and Gromit-themed garden display. (16040113AM1)

The green-fingered Harrogate charity behind an award-winning Spitfire garden at last year’s Harrogate Spring Flower Show are going for gold again at next week’s event - with a little help from Wallace and Gromit.

Volunteer Helen Swales at Horticap, based at Bluecoat Wood Nursery on Otley Road, was the inspiration behind this year’s garden after discovering that the students love working with papier-mâché.

The garden, which has been backed by Aardman Animations, the makers of Wallace and Gromit, is set to delight both children and adults alike with life-size papier-mâché sculptures of the characters and their friends, as well as a rocket made from compost bins and other hand-crafted items including flowers and a toaster for Wallace’s all-important cheese snacks.

Helen said: “We started making Shaun the Sheep and he was immediately a big hit with the students so we decided to carry on and create a full Wallace and Gromit-themed garden.”

To create the garden, the charity, that works with more than 50 students with learning disabilites, has used several buckets of glue, a tonne of old newspapers, compost bins, a Yorkshire back-drop, supplied by Bettys and Taylors, a garden glove, crazy-foam, varnish and five months of hard work from students and volunteers.

Manager Philip Airey said: “It’s been fantastic to see all our students having fun creating this garden and a particular highlight has been watching one of our students with very limited communication abilities come to life doing the papier-mâché – it’s been a very special project indeed for us here at Horticap and we hope it will bring a smile to the face of this year’s show-goers too.”

Following the Spring Flower Show, Wallace and Gromit will return to Horticap in time for the May Bank Holiday, where visitors are invited to come and visit them for free before they head off on a grand tour of Birstwith and Weeton shows and Harrogate’s Great Yorkshire Show.